The Photographer's Brush: Watercolors by Norman Fortier

The Photographer’s Brush: Watercolors by Norman Fortier

Herman Melville Room

Opened: June 7, 2019

Norman Fortier is best known nationally as a photographer, particularly for his maritime pictures of yachts and regattas taken in and around Buzzards Bay, Narragansett Bay, and other popular waters of New England.

His photographs have been featured in publications and exhibitions at the Whaling Museum in recent decades, and over 100,000 of his negatives of these and other subjects are archived in our permanent collections. However, Fortier was also a terrific watercolor painter and his charming renderings of boats, people, and places in his beloved Padanaram and farther afield also benefited from his gifted eye for light and composition.

At his harbor front studio on Elm Street, Fortier would host friends and fellow sailors, many of whom would commission a boat portrait or two by the charismatic artist.

In this exhibition, old friends, family, and fans loaned the majority of the watercolors on exhibit, which together displayed his extraordinary range of style, from broad planes of colorful spinnakers at the starting line to playful light flickering off the trees of Elm Street, to images of clapboard houses reminiscent of Edward Hopper. The Photographer’s Brush presented a unique opportunity to see many works from private collections by a truly remarkable local artist.

Thanks To:

The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Calvin “Cal” Siegal, 1924-2018,
Museum Trustee and Long-time Friend